Overall Rating:


Pentax K-30

  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:
  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:



Price as Reviewed:


With a weather-resistant body and an impressive feature set, the Pentax K-30 is an entry-level DSLR that could just rival the big boys

Noise, resolution and sensitivity

These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit  lens.

We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at
the specified sensitivity setting.

With a refined version of the 16-million-pixel sensor that has received such praise in cameras such as the Pentax K-5 and Nikon D7000, expectations are therefore high for the K-30, a less expensive camera that sits lower down the range.

As with Pentax’s own K-01, our resolution charts show that the K-30 is able to resolve up to the 26 marker at ISO 100 in DNG raw format, using the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.

To get the most possible detail from the camera, shooting in raw format is necessary. JPEG compression and sharpening come at the cost of fine detail on our charts, and at ISO 100 the camera reaches only the 24 marker. There are other cameras available with higher-resolution sensors that can resolve more detail than the K-30.

However, it is the Pentax camera’s low-light performance that is particularly impressive. Like the K-5, the K-30’s native ISO range is 100-12,800, although the K-30 has only one extended setting, up to ISO 25,600.

Resolved detail is largely uncompromised thanks in no small part to the camera’s ability to handle noise.

Without noise reduction applied in-camera, images are ‘clean’ all the way up to ISO 800, and only at ISO 1600 does luminance noise become noticeable in real-world images. In fact, images are acceptable all the way to ISO 6400, but at ISO 12,800 noise levels are problematic – detail becomes mushy, and tone flat.

Chroma noise is also evident at this setting in small yellow, green and red patches over the entire frame. The K-30, however, puts forward a good case for keeping a lid on resolution, in favour of
good performance in more challenging low-light conditions.

Image: Taken at ISO 400, this image has been brightened by +2EV and noise is still well controlled. Sharpening and contrast adjustments in the JPEG result in the loss of some details

  • Dioptre Adjustment: -2.5 to +1.5 dioptre
  • White Balance: Auto, 10 presets, custom setting, Kelvin and WB fine adjustment
  • External mic: No
  • Video: 1920x1080 pixels (at 24, 25 and 30fps), 1280x720 pixels (at 50, 60fps), 640x480 pixels, Motion JPEG (AVI), H.264
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 12m @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled, focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC or SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism, 0.92x magnification
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes, over 3 images
  • AF Points: 11 individually selectable AF points (9 cross-type)
  • Output Size: 4928x3264 pixels
  • LCD: 3in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Field of View: 100%
  • Sensor: 16.3-million-effective-pixel CMOS sensor
  • Lens Mount: Pentax KAF2
  • RRP: £599.99 (body only) £679 (with 18-55mm weather-sealed kit lens)
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3EV or 1/2EV steps
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Single, Continuous Hi 6fps, Continuous Lo 3fps, self-timer, remote, auto bracketing, HDR, interval, multiple exposure
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/6000sec in 1⁄3EV or 1/2EV steps plus bulb
  • File Format: DNG raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Power: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion D-LI109 battery
  • Weight: 650g including battery and card (590g without)
  • Exposure Modes: Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, sensitivity priority, shutter and aperture priority, bulb
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/180sec
  • ISO: 100-12,800 (expandable to ISO 25,600)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, AF.A (auto) AF.S (single), AF.C (continuous)
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Dimensions: 128.5 x 96.5 x 71.5mm (excluding protrusions)
  • Metering System: 77-segment metering, centreweighted and spot
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, AV out, cable switch
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG, 3-stage raw
  • Tested as: Entry-level DSLR

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